Memorable year: Trojans enjoy 2018-2019 school year

Published 6:54 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

Charles Henderson High School celebrated graduation on Thursday morning. It has been a school full of exciting moments the student athletes will long remember.

From scholarship signings to the birth of a new sport, Charles Henderson athletics experienced a lot during the 2018-2019 school year.

In his second year coaching volleyball at Charles Henderson, Sonny Kirkpatrick and the Trojans finished in the postseason. The Trojans advanced to the regional tournament. They finished the season nine games over .500 at 22-13. Kirkpatrick went into the season hoping to rebuild the program, the Trojans’ postseason run gave the returning players valuable experience.

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“This is the first year that we went into the regionals with an expectation to move on,” Kirkpatrick said after the season. “We had expectations and sometimes those are hard to live up to. When we competed, it was fun to watch. We were doing some good things. We took the next step forward. We just have to continue to keep working at getting better.”

Head coach Brady McCoy’s football team had an up and down 2018 season. They finished the season with a 3-7 overall record but found themselves in the postseason for the ninth consecutive year after finishing the regular season in fourth place in the Class 5A Region 2.

Charles Henderson gave rise to a new sport this year. Wrestling took center stage this year under new head coach Matt Raiti. The program was three years in the making, leading up to the Trojans first match against Opelika. The Trojans’ inaugural team consisted of 15 wrestlers.

“We are definitely really excited about this,” said CHHS Principal Brock Kelley. “We think this is going to be a really successful program at Charles Henderson High School.”

Wrestling is the ninth athletic program to come to Charles Henderson.

In just a few matches, Raiti was impressed with the progress of his team.

“It seems like they are really catching on to the sport,” Raiti said.

The highlight of the season occurred when they hosted their first-ever match.

“I had a lot of people come up and speak to me and say that they really enjoyed it,” Raiti said. “For a lot of people, that was their first ever wrestling match. They commented about it being very intense and they enjoyed it.”

The Trojan boys’ basketball team enjoyed plenty of success in the 2017-2018. They entered this season with new head coach Doug Branson. The first-year head coach brought the Trojans back into the postseason in 2018-2019. Not only did they host the area tournament for the second year in a row, they also won it for the second consecutive season.

The Trojans finished the season with a hard-fought loss in the Southeast Regional against Sylacauga.

“I will battle anybody, anywhere and anytime with these guys,” Branson said. “The seniors laid a foundation and created a footprint for our program. They brought the effort and the leadership, and they created something that the underclassmen are going to have to live up to.”

The Trojan girls’ basketball team faced a lot of adversity during their title defense. Senior Maori Davenport was suspended for nearly half of the season for accepting compensation for her time with team USA basketball last summer. Despite the adversity, the Trojans steamrolled their way to another area title and a berth in the regional tournament.

After blasting Briarwood Christian 55-12 in the opening round of the regional tournament, the Trojans season came to a close in shocking fashion with a 44-42 loss to Ramsay in the regional championship.

“I am very proud of these girls,” said head coach Dyneshia Jones after the loss. “Everyone has their dreams of making it to state and winning state. We fought hard and worked hard throughout the season. I just want everyone to know that I am proud of these girls.”
Matt Whitton had a different experience coaching the Trojan baseball team in his first full season. The Trojans spent much of the season ranked in the top-five in Class 5A for the first time in a few seasons. The season ultimately came to a close with a loss to Bibb-County in the second-round of the state playoffs.

The Trojan golf team made it to sub-state in 2019 on the backs of strong play by Griff McCrary, who finished as low scorer in numerous matches this season.